My Favorite Potato Soup


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It’s the end of August, still one of the most sweltering times of year where I live. Summer is giving it’s last hoorah and showing off what it can do here in the South while most of us natives are flipping wistfully through fall clothing catalogs at pictures of folks walking atop hills in chilly breezes while snuggling up in their cozy sweaters.

I’m so ready for fall. I’m ready to wear the sweaters that are never quite appropriate where I live (it never really gets wool-sweater cold here but the models in that magazine make them look so comfy we can’t refuse). I’m ready to bake apples and rake up leaf piles and look for pumpkins. I’m ready to pull my jeans back out and lace up ye olde hiking boots on a crisp Saturday morning to head up to Monte Sano Mountain with the kids. I’m ready to drink my coffee without it making me sweat :). (Apologies to my dear mother. You are right, Mama, ladies do not sweat, we glisten. But I wanted to make sure folks understood my point here so I had to be blunt).

…and I’m really ready for fall food. We have a completely different menu in the fall than we do in the summertime and I’m sooo ready for that.

So today, I’ve decided to break my own rule about keeping foods somewhat in season because, honestly, who makes the rules around here anyway? I keep forgetting that little technicality.

So turn down the a/c, put on a fuzzy sweater, grab a cup of coffee and come with me as we mentally fast forward to fall and make one of my very favorite versions of potato soup!

To make this soup you’ll need: 4-5 medium russet potatoes*, instant potato flakes, Heavy Cream*, 2 cans of Chicken Broth, a small yellow onion, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper.

Now we need to talk substitutions because there are a ton you can easily make when it comes to this soup.

For the Potatoes – if you don’t want to peel and dice the potatoes, just grab a 32 ounce bag of frozen cubed hash browns. You know what, the shredded ones will work just fine, too!

For the Whipping Cream – the cream gives this a rich and delicious flavor so it is my favorite to use. As a substitute though, I suggest canned evaporated milk, because it also has a very rich flavor that you just won’t find in regular milk.

For the chicken broth – I usually don’t use chicken broth but I bought it special just for this tutorial – because I love you that much! Normally, I’d toss in a few chicken bouillon cubes with some water. The package usually says one cube per cup of water but I usually add an extra cube or two for more richness. I buy them in bulk at Sam’s and they save a lot of money over buying chicken broth. You can also use homemade broth, vegetable stock, whatever cranks your tractor.

These ingredients create a great base for your soup but feel free to add the flavors that you enjoy as well. Garlic powder or a little minced garlic would be great. Some fresh or dried parsley would be a good addition, too. You might even want to add additional vegetables and just change it to a creamy veggie soup at this point.

Today I’m making more of a pure potato soup but with a few key ingredients to really up the flavor.

You’ll also need: Some smoked ham. I’m using smoked pork chops.

This is another thing I’m using to really add some body to my soup. Any type of smoked ham will do, though. I like these smoked pork chops because I use them in my freezer friendly twice baked potatoes and since I’m about to make some of those to freeze (they make such a quick side dish or easy lunch) I needed them anyway.

This will add a really nice smokey ham flavor in with our potatoes.

To begin with, pour your broth into your soup pot and put it over medium heat.

Peel and dice your potatoes…

Oh look, I did one of those tight shots of the diced potatoes. I think this is supposed to make them more appetizing or something. Maybe it is just supposed to show that I know how to zoom…

Dice your onion

 And your smoked chops or ham…

Add all of that to your broth and season to taste with salt and pepper, but stay on the light side because we’ll season it again right before serving.

I’d add about 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt now and maybe 1/8 of a teaspoon of pepper.

Bring that just to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender.

This will take anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes, depending on how big your chunks of potato are.

Now add in your instant potato flakes and stir that up.

I love instant potato flakes as thickeners for soups and stews and making the crust to my Mama’s Taco Casserole. I don’t use them other than that, though. My Grandmother’s mashed potatoes were just too good.

Now add in your cheese and pour in your heavy cream.

Stir that up and cook for just a few minutes until heated through.

Like so.

Top with your favorite toppings, such as:

  • Chopped Green Onions
  • Fresh Herbs you like
  • Bacon
  • Cheese
  • Sour Cream, etc

A note about Serving Amounts

I sometimes get questions from folks asking me how many servings a recipe has and I usually respond with a smile that “It depends on how hungry you are!”.

In general, I feed a family of four and if I have leftovers I freeze them or use them for lunches throughout the week. If you are new to cooking for a family, in time you’ll get used to how much food certain things will make, for example, a 9×13 casserole.

In my cookbook there are servings listed for most of the recipes but on I just cook like my mother did and make sure I have enough for everyone, making good use of leftovers if any exist. However, I figure this makes four generous servings. That is all relative, though. Your version of generous may be different from mine, you may be hungrier than you realize or not as hungry as you thought you were, so the relative state of servings sizes has about as much value as one of those cardboard sleeves they slip onto coffee cups. Goodness, reckon how much they spend on those things each year?

As always, serve to someone you love.

My Favorite Potato Soup
  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth (2-16 ounce cans)
  • 4-5 Russet potatoes, washed, peeled, and cubed
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup instant potato flakes
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 onion, diced
  • About 1 cup smoked chopped ham
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pour broth in dutch oven or soup pot and put over medium heat.
  2. Peel and chop onion and potatoes.
  3. Add to broth along with ham. Season to taste (about ¼ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp pepper).
  4. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for ten to fifteen minutes or until potato is tender.
  5. Remove lid and stir in potato flakes.
  6. Add in cheese and cream and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until just heated through.
  7. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately and top with your favorite toppings.
Makes 4 generous servings.
*Please see body of post for an extensive list of possible substitutions

What are you most looking forward to this fall?
Tell me about it in the comments below!


Excellent advice from a teacher!

This is from Sherri, who was kind enough to submit it on our Give A Penny Page:

This isn’t original, but it is so very true. I am a school teacher, and I try my best to remember this when teaching my students:

“People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”


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  1. Wil says

    Hi Christy, I made this recipe twice now in the past 2-3 weeks. It is fantastic for sure. This time I added an additional potato, broccoli, frozen baby peas and baby carrots. Will leave the carrots out next time though. Thank you for this recipe for sure. Question, since I live alone can this soup let overs be frozen. Thank you and thank you.

  2. Puanani says

    Want to make this potato soup but don’t have the instant potato,will it be okay with out it.The soup looks really good,and it is the kind of night for a nice pot of soup..Thank you for the recipe,and going to try and make it. tonight.

  3. Shelley says

    Easy substitutions for easier preparation:

    I used frozen shredded potatoes ( big handful for each potato called for). I used condensed canned milk instead of cream. I used frozen onions instead of fresh. I used sharp cheddar cheese instead of mild. I cut up with a pastry cutter two big slices of ham steaks I bought in a package. It wasn’t smoked. I used 4 t. gradulated chicken bouillon and 4 cups water for the broth.

  4. Michelle says

    Oh my goodness this soup was so yummy! It’s a freezing cold day and soup sounded like the perfect thing to warm me up. I was in the mood for baked potato soup so I knew I would head to Southern Plate in hopes you had a recipe. I’m so glad I found this one. My husband liked it so much he said he wouldn’t mind having it once a week! Thank you!

  5. Cathey Karr says

    I have made this soup numerous times. We absolutely love it. It’s the best Potato Soup I’ve ever had. It’s easy too. The smoked pork chops just make this soup over the top. I am so glad you shared this recipe. Thanks again!

  6. Crystal says

    I have been thinking of learning a good southern potato soup recipe for a while now but rarely try new things. Four small children, I usually stick to what I already know they like. This is perfect. Made a ham last night, have leftovers and decided tonights the night. I’ve subscribed to you by email and I’m excited about maybe learning something new! Thank you!

  7. MARSHA G says

    Christy, I guess I am a huge food season rule breaker as I love soup and cook it all the time year round. I don’t see where eating a bowl of hot sou or stew is any different than eating a hot meal. Either way you are eating something hot in the hot weather. I love the idea of using chicken broth to cook the potatoes. I cook my potato soup just like this except now I will use chicken broth or bouillon. Also if I don’t have cheddar I have used a little chunk of Velveeta if its been on sale and I have some handy. I love your letter today and yes you are right they grow in the blink of an eye. One good thing though they will always want and need momma’s love. Thank God for that!

  8. Patrice R Cooper says

    Boy,I tell you–you really come up with some of the most delicious and interesting receipes!You make me want to to advance in my cooking! I really want your cookbook because you make the receipes so easy to do!Thank you very much!

  9. Eva says

    Love potato soup, mom always made it with canned milk, Pacific Evaporated to be exact, we rarely had fresh cream, or milk in the house so used a lot of canned and dried milk. She never put in anything but the potatoes, started out with potatoes and water, and cooked the potatoes until the went to mush, added the milk for about 20 minutes before we ate, fried up some bacon and chopped it in tiny chunks, diced some onion up and filled up the bowl with thick creamy soup, topped with the bacon and onion. We ate this a lot when I was a kid, cheap filling and fairly quick to make.

    As to what I want for fall, a nice one please, not too cold to quick, but cooler than the heat we have right now. It can stay around into November too! I hate it when it snows on my birthday in Nov, that always means its winter and I hate winter, have trouble breathing, walking and doing when its cold out! Of course when its too hot I have the same troubles, so spring and fall are the best times of year for doing.

  10. Erika says

    I woke up at 4:49am to thunderstorms, and as I got ready for work in the gloom, I almost broke out one of my comfy cozy sweaters…but I knew I’d be melting by 9:00am :)
    I am sooo ready for the crisp, cool fall weather and enjoying the beautiful leaves.

  11. mary says

    Made this soup this evening! My husband said it was the best soup I’ve made. He enjoyed the chunky potato & ham bits. I made it w/chichen buillons/evaporated milk. Turned out perfect. Thank you again for a great recipe & buget friendly. You are the best!

  12. Linda says

    Hi Christy…….Thursday was the birthday of one of our employees at our family business. Since it was so cold, I made your potato soup. I made a 6 quart crock pot full to the brim for 7 people. Only substitution I made was using half and half (because that is what I had) and added a little celery because it happened to be in the fridge. Added some ham and cheese sandwiches and they ate it up and ranted and raved about how good it was. I love, love, love your recipes, your stories and you!!!! Keep them coming……

  13. Rebekah says

    Made your soup today with a few adjustments with what I had in the fridge. First, I put diced baked ham in my pot with a bit of butter – to get more flavor from my ham. Took ham from pot added 3 cans of low sodium broth to pot. Warmed the broth, then added my 5 diced potatoes (large potatoes), onions, ham and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Had no instant potatoes so I graded a sixth potato. Soaked the grated potato in water to remove starch. At soups ten minute cooking time I squeezed water from grated potato, added to pot. Cooked for 5 minutes. Added one cup of Colby cheese and a quarter cup of white cheddar. Then added one cup of half/half and ground pepper. OMG, the best potato soup ever. Thank you for this wonderful meal. Delicious !

    Ps. I did not add additional salt. Also, my husband wants to add 1 rib of celery, clams next time. Agree, this soup would make a great base for clam chowder!

  14. Kristin T says

    I made this soup for supper tonight, and it was delicious! I’m not a fan of ham or bacon, especially in soup, so I left it out. I used frozen diced potatoes, Velveeta, evaporated milk, minced onion (I hate chopping onions), and minced garlic. This tasted just like the potato soup my daddy used to make, where it would simmer for hours and be more of a chowder. No matter how many times I followed his recipe exactly, it never tasted like his. I want to thank you so much for this recipe…Jan 18th was the 5th anniversary of his death, and it was the perfect time to make this and remember him so fondly.

    • says

      I have found that there are just some recipes that will never taste like they did when our loved ones made them. I have often said that I felt like my grandmothers stirred a tablespoon of love in their recipes to make them just a little more special. :-)

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